Leaders are not born, they’re made. We sat down with Mike Derryberry to talk about what makes a good leader.

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Podcast Transcription

About This Guest:

Mike Derryberry

Mike Derryberry

Owner & Chief Visionary Officer - Compass Cleaning Solutions

Mike Derryberry is the owner and Chief Visionary Officer for Compass Cleaning Solutions. Established in 2004 Compass has consistently taken the long-term approach to grow the company based on Purpose, Values, and Mission.  Their belief that culture and people precede profits and their determination to expand their services has given them a unique place in the Phoenix, Arizona market. They have consistently ranked in the top 10 for Janitorial businesses according to the Phoenix Business Journal.

Compass has been nominated, and selected as a finalist for the BBB Torch Award for Ethics three times, in 2015, 2016, and again in 2020.  In 2020 they were selected as the top business in their category and were given the distinction of ‘winning’ The 2020 Torch Award for Ethics. 

Mike is an eager advocate of good leadership practices and joined us for the entire month of April to talk about building great leadership in your cleaning business.

Why Leaders Aren’t Born

The big thing that Mike hit on is that leaders require certain skills and experience. Experience takes a lot of practice and years to build up and leaders are never actually done learning. 

There are certainly people more pre-disposed to being charismatic and drawing people into a cause, but there’s so much more that goes into being a good leader, especially in a business setting. The skills aren’t mind-blowing to learn but it does take effort and intent to get there. 

What Makes a Great Leader

A leader must be good at understanding the team and they work for the team, not the other way around. The biggest thing that makes a great leader is their ability to cultivate and grow people. 

Have you ever heard a leader say, “I want my team to do better than I do,” or that they want their team to surpass them? 

I have and it’s much easier to trust such a person, especially when those words are strengthened by all that the leader does to enable his team. There’s a term called “servant leadership,” that defines the only good kind of leadership in business. 

Servant leadership is still a newer concept and may seem like a hard pill to swallow. It puts the employees at the top and the leaders at the bottom in order to serve everyone else. However, look at any great leader (a truly respectable one and not just one who “got the job done”) and you’ll see that they more than likely employed this principle, even if they didn’t do it intentionally. 

A leader also has a growth mindset, someone who understands that they have huge amounts of potential and is able to identify where their areas of growth are. These are the people who are always learning and growing as well as pushing those around them to do the same.

They Build the Right Environment

Supporting and growing a team successfully isn’t just about going through the motions and making sure they have what they need, though you absolutely need to enable your team by providing everything they need to be successful. 

It’s about understanding how they work, how they communicate, what motivates them, and what their personal goals are. Yes, you have to ask some of the personal questions. You may not be your employee’s end goal job, but you should support them in their growth anyway.

Then they create a work environment that is good for the employees’ growth and that of the company. This means creating a safe space for employees to voice their opinion and try new things. It means creating a space where they can fail and grow from their failure.

In Summary

Leaders are not born. They are made over years of hard work, continuous learning, dedication, and experience. You may not be a leader YET, but you can be if you put in the time and effort. The same is true for your team members.

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